New sorghum varieties to increase farmers production – RAB
Sorghum farmers in the Eastern and Sothern Provinces have reason to smile, after the discovery of four sorghum varieties resistant to Striga, a weed parasite which has affected yield in the past.
Recently, the Agricultural Research Corporation of Sudan (ARC) in collaboration with the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA), announced the discovery.
Theogene Niyibigira, the officer in charge of sorghum programme at Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB), said it will also benefit farmers.
“We are a member of ASARECA, and since it’s a policy for the body to expand new technologies to member states, we are sure that through RAB, our farmers will also get the varieties,” said Niyibigira.
The weed parasite attacks and affects the cereal crop, but with the new varieties that have taken almost eight years to develop, the weed is blocked from accessing the crop; therefore unable to feed and survive on it. It finally lacks water and nutrients cutting its life span.
It is estimated that African farmland infested by Striga stands at 21 million hectares, and this poses a threat to food security on the continent.
In Rwanda, the crop is grown almost in all districts. In 2010, records indicated that at least 133,375 hectares were used for growing sorghum. It is estimated that 1,200 kilograms can be harvested per hactare.
Recently, RAB launched an Electronic Regional Agriculture Information Learning System (ERAILS) to enable its researchers disseminate and acquire information from other researchers in the region.
This was a move to enable its effective contribution towards information sharing between agricultural research institutions in East and Central Africa countries, an initiative by ASARECA.
By Grace Mugoya, The New Times
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